Call for Educational Emergency to Address Educational Crisis in District Diamer
|Percentage of Out-of-School-Children (OOSC) having age range of 3-5 and 6-16 in Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan|
Similarly, regarding infrastructure facilities, the Diamer district has been ranked 79 out of 145 districts at national level and 4 out of 7 surveyed districts at GB level. Last year it was ranked 127 out of 148 districts at national level and it was at 4th position out of 7 districts at GB level. This shows a commendable improvement in infrastructure in terms of electricity, drinking water, boundary wall and physical condition of school buildings in Diamer. However, availability of functional toilets and boundary wall are some of the main issues as 88% of schools are running without toilet facility and 55% are without a boundary wall in Diamer. These are the major reasons in this conservative society, due to which 44% school children (especially girls) are dropping out of school without completing even the Primary level of schooling in Diamer.
It is befitting to note it here that, out of 239 total schools, 86% are Primary Schools in Diamer. While in GB and national level, there are 63% and 46% Primary School. Similarly, there are 68% Primary schools with a single teacher in Diamer; whereas, it is 35% at GB level and 15% at the national level. In the same way, there are 38% Primary schools with a single classroom in Diamer; whereas, it is 11% at GB level and 7% at the national level.
These indicators underpin the GB government policy through which it has opened small schools with a multi-grade system in isolated and equally scattered areas. As a consequence, there is a proliferation of schools, but ironically many lack quality staff and the basic requirements of a school. According to local media reports, the backdoor appointments of under-qualified kith and kin of powerful government officials as a school teachers have made the matter worst in the Diamer district in general and Goharabad in particular. As a result, the otherwise bright children of Diamer are depriving in getting their basic human and constitutional right in terms of access to quality education. This deprivation have further trapped locals in poverty cycle and exacerbated security related challenges in the region as we have already seen manifestation of this intellectual poverty in the form of 2013 Nanga Parbat massacre, sectarian killing in Harban Nala, terrorist attacks on law enforcement agencies and blown up of girls school buildings in recent past in District Diamer.
Therefore, I call upon the GB government in general and the Education Minister and Secretary Education in particular to enforce educational emergency to address the educational crisis in District Diamer. In this regard, it is suggested to provide all missing facilities in existing schools under forthcoming provincial budget besides starting enrollment campaign through community mobilization with special focus on out of school girls. Also build new girls’ schools and post-primary level schools, closer to large communities with higher out-of-school girls’ populations and low transition levels from primary to middle as it can potentially improve gender parity score. Additionally, it is suggested to offer incentives to get education and prevent corporal punishment to increase girls' enrollment.